Top 10 Health Benefits of Royal Jelly
Royal Jelly is a nutritious jelly-like substance obtained from beehives. This is used for the nutrition of larvae and most importantly, adult queens.
This milky white substance secreted by nurse bees offers a range of health benefits from wound healing to easing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Just like honey, royal jelly is harvested by beekeepers in specially designed beehives.
These days, royal jelly is gaining immense popularity as a superfood due to its antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. People usually consume this supplement orally or apply it directly onto the skin.
Although it is a regularly used component in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, its application in Western medicine remains controversial.
Let us take a closer look at the potential health benefits of royal jelly.
1. High in nutrient content
Royal jelly is immensely rich in high nutrient content. This is often referred to as the fountain of youth by the practitioners of traditional medicine.
This substance comprises of:
- mineral salts (1.5 per cent)
- lipids (3 to 6 per cent)
- carbohydrates (15 per cent)
- proteins (18 per cent)
- water (50 to 60 per cent)
Royal jelly also contains vitamins and minerals, including all variations of vitamin B. This supplement is rich in polyphenols, a type of plant-based chemical that is rich in antioxidants.
The exact chemical composition of royal jelly is still unknown, but the positive effects on health are due to its fatty acids and unique proteins.
The nutritional composition of Royal jelly primarily depends on the source from where it is obtained.
Some of the essential vitamins present in royal jelly include:
- Thiamine (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Pantothenic acid (B5)
- Pyridoxine (B6)
- Niacin (B3)
- Folic acid (B9)
- Inositol (B8)
- Biotin (B7)
Royal jelly has nine glycoproteins collectively known as major royal jelly proteins (MRJPs) along with two fatty acids.
This includes trans-10-Hydroxy-2-decenoic acid and 10-Hydroxydecanoic acid.
2. Wound healing
Royal jelly serves as an excellent medicine to speed up the process of wound healing and inflammatory skin conditions.
The antibacterial effects of this substance help to keep the wound clean and protected.
Fibroblasts are a specifically unique type of cells in the body which supervises the process of wound healing.
A research report published by the Journal of Nutrition Research and Practice has shown that royal jelly is capable of increasing the movement of fibroblasts to a wound.
Studies have also shown that royal jelly helps in collagen production, which is a vital component for skin repair.
Human cells have shown a significant improvement in tissue repair when treated with royal jelly.
3. Anti-ageing properties
In traditional Indian and Chinese medicine, the anti-ageing properties of royal jelly are well known and applied in practises.
Research has shown that when rats were treated with royal jelly, they exhibited an increased lifespan and improved cognitive performance.
Royal jelly is also added in various skincare products for the maintenance and repair of the skin to get a younger and glowing look.
Animal studies have shown various proof that royal jelly helps the skin from damage associated with UV radiation exposure by helping in increased production of collagen.
4. Helps to ease the symptoms of menopause
It is a well-known fact that women who are nearing menopause may experience some physical and mental side effects such as pain, depression, anxiety and impaired memory.
This is mainly due to the reduced levels of circulating hormones.
Royal jelly is known to provide relief from several painful symptoms of menopause.
In an animal study conducted on rats, this amazing product was observed to help improve the neurological Disorders in Postmenopausal Model Rats.
In a study conducted in 2016 on postmenopausal women, consuming 150 milligrams of royal jelly regularly helped to improve their cholesterol levels as well.
Another study involved 42 postmenopausal women who were given 800 mg of royal jelly daily for 12 weeks. The results have shown a significant effect on reducing anxiety and back pain.
5. Helps to control type 2 diabetes
Researches have come up with significant evidence to prove that royal jelly helps to control type 2 diabetes.
In a pilot study conducted on 50 female volunteers with type 2 diabetes, half of them were supplemented with royal jelly while the other half was given placebo pills.
The dosage of royal jelly was 1000mg/day for eight weeks.
For the people who were given royal jelly, significant improvement in fasting blood sugar levels was found. However, more research is necessary to determine the effects accurately.
6. Improves immunity
Royal jelly can be a powerful immune booster in the long run. Just a teaspoon of royal jelly every morning will be good enough to strengthen your overall immune system.
It helps to nourish your body with all the critical nutrients for body rejuvenation and improves disease-fighting capacities.
In a research conducted on 61 healthy volunteers, half of them were given 1000 mg of royal jelly per day, and the other half were given placebo pills for six months.
The study revealed a significant improvement in the body’s vitals, improved erythropoiesis, glucose tolerance and mental health.
7. Reduces side effects of chemotherapy
People who are undergoing chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer undergo various side effects. This includes:
- Hair loss
- Mood changes
- Changes in libido and sexual function
- Fertility problems
- Appetite changes
- Skin and nail changes
Royal jelly, when used in proper dosages, can help to mitigate the side effects of chemotherapy.
Studies done on humans have also revealed that royal jelly, when applied topically, prevents mucositis, a side effect of cancer treatment that causes painful ulcerations in your digestive tract
Certain animal studies have revealed a significant reduction in heart damage in rats that are induced by chemotherapy.
However, more research is required in establishing the anti-cancer effects of royal jelly.
8. Lowers blood pressure and protects the heart
Royal jelly may protect your circulatory system and maintain the proper function of your heart.
Several studies have indicated that royal jelly contains specific proteins that are capable of relaxing the smooth muscle cells in arteries and veins, helping to lower the blood pressure.
In an animal study conducted on rabbits, those who were supplemented with royal jelly for 12 weeks showed a significant reduction in their total cholesterol by 28% and bad (LDL) cholesterol by 23%.
Human trials have shown a significant reduction in total and LDL cholesterol by 11% and 4% respectively when 3 grams of royal jelly was supplemented daily for a month.
9. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Royal jelly can be effectively used in combating oxidative stress and reducing inflammation.
Several studies have verified that certain components present in royal jelly such as fatty acids, specific amino acids and phenolic compounds have powerful antioxidant effects.
10. Helps to boost up the brain function
Studies have revealed that Royal jelly helps to increase the overall performance and maintain the robust functionality of the brain.
In an animal study conducted on stress-induced mice, they were regularly administered with royal jelly. It was noticed that the induced animals showed a strong central nervous system with lower levels of stress hormones in the bloodstream.
Another study has revealed that rats that are regularly treated with royal jelly were able to remove certain chemical deposits from the brain that are related to Alzheimer’s disease.
However, more extensive research is needed to verify its effectiveness in supporting healthy brain functions.
What is the best way to take Royal Jelly?
Royal jelly is available in a variety of forms in the market, such as in fresh form (directly obtained from the farm), powdered form or capsules.
Opinions vary greatly on the best form for taking royal jelly.
Nutritionists and pharmaceutical companies believe that royal jelly works best when taken in powdered form. The process of converting royal jelly to powder is called freeze-drying (lyophilization).
On the other hand, beekeepers agree on keeping the fresh jelly directly under the tongue to be absorbed by the bloodstream and to ensure that it doesn’t lose any of its medicinal properties.
How much royal jelly should I take?
Allergic reactions are infrequent for royal jelly. However, if you are starting new, it is better to start with small doses to determine your tolerance levels and to avoid any side effects.
For Capsules: Start with one capsule per day for the first week, two capsules per day for the second week and three for the third week.
Capsules are nothing but dried jelly encapsulated for ease of consumption.
For general health, consuming one 1000 mg capsule per day will be sufficient.
For powder: Start with 1/16 to 1/8 of a teaspoon for the first week and gradually build it to 1/4 teaspoon a week.
For people who enjoy protein shakes and smoothies, mixing the dried powder into your health drinks and consuming it will help you avoid the strong taste which can be unpleasant for certain people.
What are the side effects of taking Royal Jelly?
Though this product is generally safe, some people have reported side effects after taking royal jelly.
Some of the adverse reactions include:
- Contact dermatitis
As this is a bee product, people who are allergic to bee stings or environmental allergens should maintain caution.
Some people have reported experiencing facial rashes and gastrointestinal discomfort after consuming royal jelly.
It may also increase the chance of hemorrhagic colitis, a condition that involves watery and bloody diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, vomiting or a low-grade fever.
For people who are suffering from asthmatic conditions, it is recommended to avoid taking royal jelly as it might worsen the effects of asthma.
Is Royal Jelly safe during pregnancy?
Since royal jelly directly interacts with the hormonal activity in females, it is recommended for women who are pregnant or suffering from hormone-related diseases to avoid consuming this.
Precautions and interactions with other medicines
Royal Jellyis known to increase the effect of blood thinners and cholesterol-lowering medicines. It is therefore better for the people who are using these medications to avoid taking this supplement.
Is Royal Jelly safe for children?
For children above six months, royal jelly can be consumed in specific limited amounts. That said, this product is not recommended for babies under six months as they do not have the capacity to ingest and absorb the product.
For children who are struggling with internal growth, supplementing royal jelly along with proper food can help achieve good development and improved immunity.
For centuries, traditional medicinal practitioners have successfully used royal jelly for treatment of various diseases and improving the overall health of people.
This is an area where several high quality and extensive research is required to establish the benefits surrounding the product firmly.
It is good to try this product within safer dosage limits as well as sourcing it from a reputable brand. However, if you find any sign of an adverse reaction, it is recommended to stop immediately.
Megan Ware, L.D (29 May 2018) How can antioxidants benefit our health? Medical News Today, Available at https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/301506 [Accessed 5 June 2020]
Laura Cornara, Marco Biagi, Jianbo Xiao and Bruno Burlando( 28 June 2017) Therapeutic Properties of Bioactive Compounds from Different Honeybee Products, Available at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2017.00412/full [Accessed 5 June 2020]
Filippo Fratini, Giovanni Cilia, Simone Mancini, Antonio Felicioli (19 Nov 2016) Royal Jelly: An Ancient Remedy With Remarkable Antibacterial Properties, Available at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27664731/ [Accessed 5 June 2020]
Nobuaki Okumura, Toshihiko Toda, Yusuke Ozawa, Kenji Watanabe, Tomoki Ikuta, Tomoki Tatefuji, Ken Hashimoto and Takahiko Shimizu(1 Sep 2018) Royal Jelly Delays Motor Functional Impairment During Aging in Genetically Heterogeneous Male Mice, Available at https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/9/1191 [Accessed 5 June 2020]
Samira Pourmoradian, Reza Mahdavi, Majid Mobasseri, Elnaz Faramarzi & Mehrnoosh Mobasseri (13 Oct 2016 ) Improvement of Neurological Disorders in Postmenopausal Model Rats by Administration of Royal Jelly, Available at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27736245/ [Accessed 5 June 2020]
Hassan Malekinejad, Sima Ahsan, Fatemeh Delkhosh-Kasmaie, Hadi Cheraghi, Ali Rezaei-Golmisheh,2 and Hamed Janbaz-Acyabar( 19 Feb 2016)Cardioprotective effect of royal jelly on paclitaxel-induced cardiotoxicity in rats, Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818372/[Accessed 5 June 2020]
Hyumi is a certified nutritionist under the Singapore Nutrition & Dietetic Association (SNDA), she has 8 years of professional experiences in providing health consultations & advice for clients and corporates alike, all the while researching & developing new functional ingredients for better formulation. Hyumi obtained her Degree in Food Sciences & Nutrition from University Malaysia Sabah
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